Despite living in the height of the Information Age, myths about cannabis are still lurking and stoking the fears of politicians and citizens who don’t understand the plant. The American public’s perceptions about cannabis have been twisted since the 1930s. But thanks to medical marijuana and increased accessibility to studies about it, we’re getting closer to removing Prohibition.
What perpetuates these myths? Why have they stuck around? And what was the catalyst that led to the steady path to nationwide legalization?
Get answers below—you’ll see how you’re also an active part in the revolution.
The History of Reefer Madness and Harry Anslinger
Reefer Madness has its humble beginnings in the 1930s. You can learn all the nuanced details by watching Netflix film Grass is Greener.
The most crucial point is that cannabis didn’t become illegal until 1937. And that’s all thanks to Harry Anslinger, the former Commissioner of Narcotics and self-proclaimed world expert on drugs.
Myths about cannabis addiction, cannabis-inspired laziness and debauchery, and so much more are ghosts that haunt us from the propaganda Anslinger created way back when.
All from a man who initially stated the plant wasn’t worth his time prior to the 1930s.
How mass media shapes public opinion on cannabis
Anslinger’s influence reflects the power of mass media in shaping public opinion.
The average American, past and present, lack direct knowledge about cannabis. So in their ever-busy lives throughout time, they’ve leaned on easy access sources to keep up with relevant information – or at least what’s deemed relevant by media companies.
With that said, negative myths about cannabis are perpetuated throughout our media history.
On the bright side, there was a major shift in opinion in the 1990s with the introduction of medical marijuana. That’s when the narrative had to relent to those crazy things called “facts” in the forms of science and medical studies. And, of course, the life-changing stories from patients like you who’ve signed a new lease on life thanks to cannabis.
The Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association and perpetuating myth bias with studies
There are still some pervasive forces against cannabis legalization. They invest in studies to in an attempt to prove the myths are real and to find further reason to prevent the removal of Prohibition.
Let’s consider this alleged myth-busting brochure by The Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). In a gentle yet fear mongering tone, DATIA addresses positive “myths” about cannabis. Using studies to support their bias, they claim that marijuana isn’t medicine and that it shouldn’t be compared to alcohol in regard to safe use.
This is one of the first resources to pop up when you look up debunking cannabis myths. And it can be pretty unnerving that there are still organizations trying to perpetuate lies while bending the full spectrum of truth studies reveal.
Dispensaries debunk cannabis myths with our presence
Since irrational fears surrounding cannabis still exist, it’s only natural that there are myths surrounding dispensaries!
Those against legalization use Prohibition myths to perpetuate the notion that dispensaries will bring an increase in crime, addiction, adolescent use and overall terror to neighborhoods.
This is so far from the truth. Especially since they provide many social benefits tracked by studies. Dispensaries can bring down crime rates and even fatal traffic accidents in their respective neighborhoods. Teen use and accessibility has yet to be an issue in medical states.
And did you know living within a mile of a dispensary could increase your home value?
Your background and cannabis knowledge pushes us closer to legalization
Given that myths from over 70 years ago are still pervasive, we have to stay vigilant in reshaping the positive narrative for cannabis. The major shift towards legalization is thanks to accessibility to broader knowledge: blogs, informative websites, music, movies, magazines and more.
This reflects that cannabis’s future is in your hands and you can create content that helps dispel the myths. Sharing this blog is another way to help end the stigma!
Let us know what myths you’ve had to debunk lately.